Monday, January 16, 2017

booklist 2016

It turns out that having a baby had a very large impact on my reading (and I didn't even manage to write up my annual booklist for 2015 until now!). Apparently I read 63 books in 2015, and 21 in 2016. As someone who thinks of herself as a reader, it was a disorienting year, and one in which I went for large periods of time without even a book on the go. I think not commuting was maybe as big a factor as the actual baby. Whatever the case, 2016 was a lean year for books, and one in which murder mysteries and graphic novels are strongly represented. It wasn't even a strong year in terms of the books themselves, but there were good ones as always.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk was probably my favourite, it was refreshing to get stuck into it and be reminded of the power of books. It was also transporting and an interesting insight into Turkey and its religious tensions. Although I have to say that maybe three quarters of the way in it started to drag a bit, and lose some direction to my mind. It didn't fully recover by the end, but was still worth finishing and was definitely thought-provoking with some engaging characters.

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillop was also very good. She writes this sort of oblique fantasy, for want of a better word, I mean it is straighforwardly fantasy but her stories and their plots alsways feel kind of sideways. It feels refreshing though, and the worlds are beautiful. This story of a kingdom and its shadow world was one of my best reads of the year.

Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs are always a fun read, very reflective, very Gen Y I think but I like that (it's my generation after all). I wanted to read her book about getting married recently and her reflections on her relationship and wedding traditions, so first I ended up reading her books about travelling and youth and family, which were also good. 

Goodwood was a book I picked up on impulse at the library after feeling like I'd seen it around a lot, and it was actually a great choice. It's an Australian mystery/coming of age story set in a small country town, and I think she pulled it off really well. 

I enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See as well, although I always feel like there can't be any good WWII books left to write. 

The Robert Galbraith mysteries and Ben Aaronovitch fantasy police procedurals are always good fun.

So there you have it, I complained about this year but there were a lot of good books after all! Here's the full list:

Career of Evil- Robert Galbraith
Ombria in Shadow- Patricia A. McKillip
How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And other adventures in parenting- Mei-Ling Hopgood
Sweet Danger- Margery Allingham
Slade House- David Mitchell
The Simple Act of Reading- Debra Adelaide (ed.)
Deep Secret- Diana Wynne Jones
Stoner- John Williams
Roadside Picnic- Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr
Displacement: A Travelogue- Lucy Knisley
An Age of License: A Travelogue- Lucy Knisley
The Case of the Gilded Fly- Edmund Crispin
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches- Alan Bradley
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust- Alan Bradley
Sea Lovers: Selected stories- Valerie Martin
Snow- Orhan Pamuk
Something New: Tales from a makeshift bride- Lucy Knisley
The Shepherd's Crown- Terry Pratchett
Goodwood- Holly Throsby
The Hanging Tree- Ben Aaronovitch

Sunday, January 15, 2017

very belated booklist for 2015

The Bookshop Book- Jen Campbell
Lila-  Marilynne Robinson
The Wise Man's Fear- Patrick Rothfuss
The Sleeper and the Spindle- Neil Gaiman
The Strange Library- Haruki Murakami
Atlas Shrugged- Ayn Rand
The Hare with the Amber Eyes- Edmund de Waal
The Age of Magic- Ben Okri
Unmade- Sarah Rees Brennan
Station Eleven- Emily St John Mandel
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making- Catherynne M. Valente
Still Alice- Lisa Genova
Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo- Ntozake Shange
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam- Ann Marie Fleming
A Month in the Country- J.L. Carr
Lagoon- Nnedi Okorafor
Connecting with Law- Michelle Sanson
On Histories and Stories: Selected Essays- AS Byatt
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night- Heather O'Neill
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There- Catherynne M. Valente
Lucky Us- Amy Bloom
At Home: A Short History of Private Life- Bill Bryson
The Ape Who Guards the Balance- Elizabeth Peters
Some Kind of Fairytale- Graham Joyce
The Grand Duchess of Nowhere- Laurie Graham
Fledgling- Octavia Butler
The Falcon at the Portal- Elizabeth Peters
Ragtime- E.L. Doctorow
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves- Karen Joy Fowler
Shortcomings- Adrian Tomine
Oranges are not the Only Fruit- Jeanette Winterson
A Fairly Honourable Defeat- Iris Murdoch
Shy: A Memoir- Sian Prior
The Crossing Places- Elly Griffiths
A Girl's Guide To Modern European Philosophy- Charlotte Grieg
Who Fears Death- Nnedi Okorafor
Damsels in Distress- Joan Hess
Moondogs- Alexander Yates
He Shall Thunder in the Sky- Elizabeth Peters
The L-Shaped Room- Lynne Reid Banks
The Three-Body Problem- Cixin Liu
A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson
Lord of the Silent- Elizabeth Peters
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know- Emily Oster
Heat and Light- Ellen van Neerven
Some Luck- Jane Smiley
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic- Alison Bechdel
Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History- Eduardo Galeano
Cairo- Willow G. Wilson
Reluctantly Charmed- Ellie O'Neil
Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction- Craig Edward (ed)
Alif the Unseen- Willow G. Wilson
Looking for Alaska- John Green
The Wife Drought- Annabel Crabb
The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and two not-so-great ones) changed my life- Andy Miller
The Golden One- Elizabeth Peters
Early Warning- Jane Smiley
Foxglove Summer- Ben Aaronovitch
Eustace- S.J. Harris
American Gods- Neil Gaiman
Sidney Chambers and the Perils of Night- James Runcie
My Real Children- Jo Walton
Shades of Milk and Honey- Mary Robinette Kowal